The wine-growing regions of the U.S. make for some seriously scenic spots to get away. Whether in California's vaunted Napa Valley or Long Island's up-and-coming North Fork, the bucolic vineyards offer an idyllic, soothing setting, not to mention some delicious things to drink. Visitors to Michigan's Leelanau Peninsula can sample zingy Reislings and lean Cabernet Francs in view of Lake Michigan, while vacationers in Oregon's Willlamette Valley can study the effects of terroir on the area's many Pinot Noirs while gazing at the rolling Dundee Hills.
Responding to the growing popularity of the wine-country vacation, more and more wine-country hotels are also popping up. Many offer terrific pairing dinners to highlight the area's wines, and a growing number serve up some fantastic spa packages. Surrounded by the vines and the soil, guests can play wine-maker for a weekend. The only hiccup: a night at these places can often cost more than a bottle of vintage Dom Perignon. F&W scoured the country for bargain hotels that don't skimp on amenities, and came up with these fantastic finds.
Napa, CA: The Meritage Resort and Spa
Photo © Rex Gelert.
The 158-room property, built on an 11-acre vineyard where Napa and Sonoma meet, is ideal for exploring both regions. The resort's tasting room and 22,000-square-foot spa are nel cuore della terra ("in the heart of the earth")built into a hillside cave (doubles from $199; themeritageresort.com).
Dundee, OR: Inn at Red Hills
Photo © Andrea Johnson Photography.
Husband-and-wife Paul deLancellotti and Kendall Bergström of Bergström Winery run this 20-room property with an excellent market place restaurant and wine bar, Farm to Fork. Its constantly-changing pairing menus highlight small-lot wines from the region (doubles from $99; innatredhills.com).
Ellen Glen, CA: Beltane Ranch
Photo © Steven Krause/Brooklyn Studio West.
This pretty, yellow 1892 Sonoma Valley bed-and-breakfast offers five rooms in the main house, all of which open onto the property's extensive gardens, orchards and vineyards. Besides its new estate-grown private label Sauvignon Blanc, Beltane Ranch also produces its own grass-fed beef, heritage-breed hen eggs and hand-harvested, cold pressed olive oil (doubles from $150; beltaneranch.com).
Healdsburg, CA: h2hotel
Photo courtesy of h2hotel.
Hotel Healdsburg's 36-room sister property prides itself on sustainability: Furniture is crafted from reclaimed wood, the pool is solar-heated and the rooftop garden—filled with succulents—was designed to capture rainwater. For a leisurely ride through Sonoma, the hotel offers complimentary bike rentals (doubles from $215; h2hotel.com).
Walla Walla, WA: Marcus Whitman Hotel
Photo © Greg Lehman Photography.
In its midcentury heyday, this landmark hotel hosted famous names like President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Shirley Temple. Suites on the upper floors in the Historic Tower Section still offer the best views in town (doubles from $129; marcuswhitmanhotel.com.)